Monday, April 22, 2013

The Big Show, The Circus...The Otter

What ever you want to call it, the Sea Otter is definitely one of the biggest races of the year.  With a huge industry presence, World Cup caliber competition and a wide variety of events ranging from BMX to road racing and even CX its a must do least once.
Monterey - Can't go wrong racing in a place like this...

Last time I did Sea Otter was 2002.  I had a great result, but never the desire to return.  In 2002 we left Tucson and it just never made sense to attempt Sea Otter after spending a winter in WI.  This year with our extended stay in Tucson we had to make a comeback.  The circus was even bigger and more spectacular than I remember.  I'm not quite sure if I really liked it though.....waiting 35 minutes in line just to park 25 minutes away from the venue in a dusty field.  Crossing 3 spectator bridges to span
the Laguna Seca without getting wheelied on by a DH'er, and getting lucky to navigate the maze of the entire thing just to make it to the start line on time....that is if you really knew when your start time was.

Anyway I was there and tried to make the best of it....the circus started with a short track.  At it was definitely a circus when I rolled to the line in about 80th position...nothing like starting the first big race of the year in last place!  This photo tells all about 20 seconds into the race I was already 25 seconds off the back and standing still waiting to go thru corner #2.  Luckily I had great legs and used some cross skills to fight all the way back to 13th place!  Click below pic for video.

Day 2 was the XC on Saturday at high noon.  After being stuck in a traffic jam for way too long I decided I wasn't going to make it in time and had to abandon my car on the side of the road to make it to the start line.  I had a call up after the short track performance, but it didn't matter when the field barged to the line after about 15 guys were called up.  I started great but was boxed in before a pivotal moment and exited the pavement in about 30th position.  There I stayed for the next 15 minutes as the course descended at high speeds with only one line available.  Once the course started pointing up and opening up a bit the gaps were formed, but I slowly started picking my way forward.  I was riding mostly with Alex Grant from Sho-Air-Cannondale and we were working good together picking guys off one by one.  We ended up catching Olympic Champ Kulhavy on the last climb and dropped him!  Alex's teammate Ben Sonntag latched on at the last minute and we had a 3 up tactical sprint on the track!  It was fun, but I was really hoping for better than 19th after the way I felt in the short track...maybe I peaked a day early!

Overall it was a fast trip to Monterrey.  I didn't get to check out 17 mile drive or Pebble Beach, I didn't make it to Cannery Row, but I did get to the Wharf for a bread bowl of Clam Chowder!  Huge thanks to ProGold Lubricants, Trek Bicycles, and of course Andrea for making life just a little easier under the big top!

Andrea made it to 17 mile drive!  Saturday morning...I'm jealous.
Post race recovery Clam Chowder on the Wharf!

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